Intricate staircases made by secretive French woodworking masters

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I don’t think compagnons are secretive. It’s an elite but it’s not a secret society.


We really must be secretive since I myself did not know that we were. :smiley:


Back when these practices started, they were pretty secretive:

In seventeenth - and eighteenth-century France, the religious and political authorities considered the compagnonnages a perversion of legitimate corporate institutions and the compagnons consequently stayed secretive and numerically restricted. Political repression by the craft guilds and the authorities was effective because it forced journeymen into secrecy…

Le technicien dans la cité en Europe occidentale, 1250-1650


Where can I buy the scale drawings, so I can start building full-scale masterpieces in my backyard?

Thanks Andrea. I wasn’t aware myself of this twist of history. I knew that compagnonnage came out from the need to free compagnons from their master and the corporations rules. My understanding of your use of ‘secretive’ was in the sense of trade secrets. On this account the compagnons had the opposite effect of diffusing their knowledge throughout the whole country and beyond. The further from the great cities they went, the freer they felt to do so. Most of the now prized provincial furniture has been realized by workers who were only loosely if at all affiliated to any corporation or even to the compagnons because of that.

Compagnon organizations all but died at the time of the industrial revolution. The renaissance that we live now has little if any roots into the political context which fed the original movement. Hence my ignorance.

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